Telcos in ad battle for Mexico's callers

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MEXICO CITY -- Two heavyweight telecommunications companies have swung into battle with new ad campaigns designed to win over customers prior to the deregulation of long-distance services on January 1, 1997.

Telmex, which has historically had a monopoly on the market, has launched a campaign urging customers to sign up for discounts of between 25% and 38% before competitors even move into the market.

The deal is designed to hook consumers in for the long term. In order to receive the benefits, they must continue to use Telmex as their long-distance service until the end of 1997. If not, the rate cuts will be rescinded. J Walter Thompson handles Telmex.

Meanwhile Alestra, a consortium including AT&T, GTE, Telefonica de Espana and Mexican companies, has launched an advertising counter-attack against Telmex. Although it does not name it specifically, the commercial, prepared by Young & Rubicam, takes advantage of a Telmex's reputation for sloppy service by depicting a telephone company using a wrecking ball to install new telephone lines.

Copyright August 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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